It’s not often that science discovers a new nutrient, but Choline is one of them. In 1998, the Institute of Medicine acknowledged it as an essential nutrient. But what is it and why does it matter? Let’s find out:
- Choline is an essential nutrient - which means it’s required by your body to function properly but must be obtained through diet.
- While it’s often grouped with Vitamin B, choline is neither a vitamin nor a mineral - it’s a compound.
- Key functions of choline include liver function, nervous system and brain development, muscle function, and metabolism. Deficiencies can have negative effects on many key systems of the body.
- Adequate intake amounts of choline are around 425mg/day for women and 550mg/day for men, but it’s noted that intake amounts vary quite a bit based on individual needs and with more required during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- This vital nutrient can be found in eggs, fish, meat, and dairy. One egg contains 113mg and 3oz of cod contains 248mg.
- Those on a plant-based diet will want to ensure they’re getting enough choline. Foods such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, wheat germ, peanuts, and beans have some choline, but amounts are low and may warrant supplementation. One half cup of broccoli contains 31mg of choline.
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